This article contains Stargirl spoilers.
Stargirl has been one of the few good things about 2020. Smart, impressively crafted, and full of heart, the newest addition to The CW superhero roster has been bringing us some much needed joy. Sadly, the season has ended, but it finished on a high note with an action-packed and emotional episode that tied up some loose ends, had a few shocking surprises, and opened up a lot of potential for the already announced second season that will air exclusively on The CW. Check out our review for a full rundown of the awesome episode, but we’re here to breakdown that wild ending, all those stingers, and answer some of the most burning questions that “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two” left us with.
The Justice Society of America Rises Again
It’s hard to end a debut season that’s been as stunning as Stargirl but somehow the creative team did it. There were a whole bunch of amazing moments in this episode but let’s focus on that third act that really began when the kids got into the tunnels underneath Blue Valley High. This finale really did a great job of giving everyone their own full arc which satisfied as well as left them with something to achieve or look forward to next season.
Let’s start with the outlier, Cindy Burman. The daughter of Dragon King got her revenge as she killed her father, unintentionally helping Shining Knight before heading off to battle Courtney.
Cindy’s attack led to Yolanda having a reckoning of her own as she had to head further into the tunnels and saw an unexpected face. Henry King Jr.’s arc was one of my favorite things about this season so I was blown away when one of the Dragon King’s minions was revealed to be the teen who we thought died earlier this season. After the heartbreaking moment where it was revealed that it was actually Brainwave attempting to use Yolanda’s love for Henry as a way to get her to betray her friends, the young girl made a choice driven by fear, anger, and hate, slitting his throat and watching him bleed out in the same place he killed his son. It’s a stark moment and one that reflects a change in Yolanda, and contrasts an equally important moment for Rick.
Before we get to that, though, Courtney and Yolanda reunite and the former blows up the satellite that was projecting Brainwave’s signal. With the world seemingly saved, there are two immediate problems: Solomon Grundy and Barbara who’s been kidnapped by Icicle. Rick wants to take care of the first issue, and after saving Pat from the monster and sending him to save Barb, Rick begins the vengeful beatdown he’s been dreaming of for so long.
But when it comes to striking the final blow on the creature that killed his parents, he can’t actually do it. Earlier in the episode we saw Yolanda begging him not to kill only to commit a murder herself, and yet here Rick decides to show mercy to Grundy, shocking himself and finding a different kind of closure.
With Barb at the mercy of Jordan, Pat and Courtney turn up just in time. And after a dramatic rooftop showdown, Jordan is defeated by an unexpected assist from Mike saving the day. With the Dragon defeated, Shining Knight heads off to find the Seven Soldiers of Victory and the rest of the new JSA settles back into their daily lives before we hit a couple of killer stingers which we’ll get into later as the real ending of the show is all about Courtney realizing that Pat is the father she wanted all along.
The pair share a heartwarming scene where Court gives her sidekick and stepdad the gift that she held onto for so long for her biological father, and in a lovely moment it’s revealed to be a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug. Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson have been at the heart of the series all along and this is a lovely, quiet moment that acknowledges that as well as cementing their relationship before they head out on a magical snow-capped flight. So with all of that said, let’s get into where this leaves the roster of heroes and rogues and what it all means.
Is Icicle Really Dead?
This is the obvious question that we’re left with after Mike ran over the leader of the ISA while he was in the process of transforming, leading to him being shattered in the street. It seems like a pretty un-comeback-from-able death, but the fact that Jordan can manipulate water means there’s a chance that he’s just dribbled into the drains of Blue Valley, ready to either plan his revenge or head to the labs of the late Dragon King in an attempt to put himself back together.
We know that the Injustice Society is filled with villains who should be dead and Jordan did promise that he would succeed in his nefarious plan to “fix” America, so maybe he’ll be back for Stargirl season 2…
Could Mike Really Join the JSA?
After successfully demolishing Jordan just as he was about to freeze his sister, Mike asks whether his heroic moment means that he can join the JSA. It’s a funny moment that also hints at some possibilities for the future of Pat Dugan’s son. While in the comics he never had an official superhero mantle, that could definitely change here.
But if Geoff Johns and co. continue to be inspired by the comic book series that introduced readers to Stargirl and her family–as well as giving the two-part season finale its name–then his role could be deeply connected to another shocking moment of “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two” and the fate of another team member.
What About S.T.R.I.P.E.?
During his epic fight with Solomon Grundy, S.T.R.I.P.E. was decimated. The giant monster ripped off the impressive mech’s legs and beat him with his own arm. It was a brutal display of strength from Grundy and left S.T.R.I.P.E. in a state of disrepair.
Seeing as Pat built the rad machine himself and we see S.T.R.I.P.E. return at the end, we know he’ll be okay. But the big thing to note here is who will help him. Season one has done a great job of seeding Mike as a potential sidekick to Pat and Courtney, especially with his clear prowess for science and invention. In the comics Mike does go on to help his father fix and innovate S.T.R.I.P.E. so after the events of the finale it seems likely we’ll see that thread brought into the sophomore outing of the series.
Where Did the Gambler Go?
Seeing as the Gambler is the only member of the ISA without powers, he did a pretty great job at getting out of Blue Valley and apparently surviving. Thanks to Beth’s brilliant thinking, he no longer has millions of dollars to rebuild his life which means his options are few and his taste for vengeance will be heightened.
If we look to the comics there’s a chance that Steven Sharpe could settle down as when he disappeared off the map before he had a family and then ended up killing himself after losing all his money in Vegas. Of course, that could also hint that maybe due to Beth and Chuck donating all of his money to charity we may never see the Gambler again. Perhaps his financial loss may have been too much? Or he may just be far too scared to continue without his super powered colleagues who have all perished? For now his fate is unclear.
How Will Beth Fix Chuck?
There were plenty of heartbreaking moments this week but high up there was Beth’s grief over Chuck. The A.I. representation of the original Doctor Mid-Nite has become a friend, confidant, and sidekick for the lonely young girl, and Beth’s relationship with the goggles he inhabits has been a highlight of the season. But when Jordan destroys them with his ice powers it seems like the connection and power of Doctor Mid-Nite may be no more.
The truth is that Beth is Doctor Mid-Nite with or without the goggles, but the big question here is how she’ll come to realize that. Perhaps it will be by fixing the unique tool herself or by discovering another artifact or memory bank that Chuck left behind. Either way, we’re sure that Beth will continue her reign as the hero.
Will Yolanda Go Rogue?
Though she likely saved her friends and the town of Blue Valley–and potentially America–with her actions, killing Brainwave was still a moment that will haunt the hero. Despite the fact that the episode ended with Courtney and the new JSA sitting together, Yolanda was set apart, distracted and alone. There’s a good chance that whatever happens next season we may see her split with her young and hopeful cohorts, especially after Rick refused to kill Grundy and Courtney’s horrified response to Yolanda’s killing.
I don’t believe that Yolanda will go full villain but her experiences with Brainwave could encourage a more hard line vigilante stance that might not fit with the cleancut JSA.
Who Was That in the Injustice Society’s lair?
Well, well, well. If you’ve been wondering who’s going to take over from the now defunct Injustice Society, look no further than that strange top-hatted figure who appeared in the ISA lair at the end of the finale. In the fourth episode there was a really quick reference to a rogue known as the Shade who betrayed the ISA and it looks like from this stinger that the Shade is back in Blue Valley.
So who are they? Well, in the comics the character debuted in a 1942 Flash Comics issue and was portrayed as an enigmatic man with a magical cane that could control shadows. But the version that we’re most likely seeing here is the ageless Victorian immortal who played a key role in Stargirl writer/producer James Robinson’s 1994 run on Starman.
In that series the character is less of a villain and more of a roguish anti-hero who will switch sides whenever it suits him. There’s plenty to take from the Shade’s appearance but the most interesting aspect is the definitely supernatural nature of the character and the demon-filled, era-spanning world that he inhabits. It seems like a drastic shift in tone from the nostalgic Americana of the first season and does seem to hint at a darker and more magic-filled followup.
It’s also important to note that during his time on Justice League of America Robinson wrote in a story about the Shade being possessed by a powerful spirit known as Eclipso, who also (sort of) popped up in the finale with the help of none other than Cindy Burman.
We wrote much more about The Shade and what he will bring to the table in Stargirl Season 2 right here.
Who or What is Eclipso?
Ahhh, this is the kind of question I live for. Even in an age where we have a JSA team on prime time TV made up of teenage girls and a Harley Quinn series that regularly features Kite Man, Eclipso is a capital D deep cut inclusion. And there are a few exciting ways that they could go with the late stage reveal that Cindy has discovered “the Heart of Darkness” gem where the immortal supervillain is trapped. She found it in the easter-egg-filled basement of The Wizard’s home.
Now in the comics, Eclipso is a supernatural character based on the concept of wrath and more specifically the Angel of Vengeance. That immediately fits Cindy’s current mindset as we know she’s on a mission to destroy everything that Blue Valley has to offer. I mean, she killed her own father but was equally as eager to kill Courtney and stop the Justice Society.
Eclipso has manifested in many hosts in the DC Universe, but the one that seems most relevant here is Jean Loring, nee Palmer, who’s probably most well known as the murderer in Identity Crisis. Just like Cindy, Jean discovered the gem which housed Eclipso and was later possessed by him and given his powers. We know that Cindy is desperate to become a super villain and will stop at nothing to do it, meaning that she would likely try and harness the evil spirit to achieve her goals.
The other interesting thing to note here is this could also be a backdoor way of Stargirl introducing another lesser-known DC hero to the young cast. In certain parts of Eclipso canon it was the Princess of House Amethyst who imprisoned him in the gem. Now DC has been doing a push on bringing the teenage fantasy heroine to the screen, so if Eclipso gets loose in Blue Valley maybe Amethyst will have to leave Gemworld and head to our world to help out?
We wrote in much more detail about the history of Eclipso and what he could mean for Stargirl Season 2 right here.
This was easily the episode’s biggest reveal and leads to some of the most complex theorizing as well as some deep cut but necessary explanations. So in the world of Stargirl, Sylvester Pemberton is alive and well, which comes as a huge shock because we thought that we saw him die a decade ago at the hands of the Injustice Society. There’s always the chance that this is some kind of Clayface/shape-shifter scenario, but if not it leads to some really interesting questions and will bring to light something that a lot of comic book fans have been wondering.
See, in the comics Sylvester Pemberton was the Star-Spangled Kid but he was never actually Starman. The mantle he took on after retiring as the young hero was Skyman. The real comic book Starman was Ted Knight who was followed by his brother David and later by Ted’s son Jack. There have been other heroes who have used the name Starman but none have been Sylvester Pemberton.
It’ll be interesting to see just how the show combines these two disparate narratives now that Pemberton is potentially back in the picture. In the comics he does team up with Stargirl at one point, which could be echoed here. But it feels like this might be more of an arc for Pat who has spent his life dealing with the ramifications of a death that might not have actually happened at all. So what is Starman hiding? Where has he been? And most importantly of all for Courtney, is he going to want his Cosmic Staff back?
We’ll have to wait to find out the answers to all of these questions and the fates of our lovely teenage heroes, but whatever comes next we cannot wait for the return of our favorite new superhero show!
You can watch all of Stargirl season one on DC Universe or The CW app right now!